Businesses have long emphasised the significant role of culture in their success, but how exactly does one build a culture within a team?
For Managed App director Thom Richards, Raine & Horne Potts Point/Elizabeth Bay director Samuel Schumann and Marshall.Chan.Yahl director William Chan, every successful business is ultimately shaped by the culture that the company builds and upholds.
In a recent REB Masterclass, the business leaders described how they find the “right fit” for their respective teams.
According to Mr Chan, one of the most important aspects of great company culture is good and positive energy brought forth by each team member — “the ones that sort of bring good energy, positivity, they want to work for something bigger than themselves”.
“But if they’re walking in thinking, ‘What can I get out of this? What are you going to give me? What are you going to offer me?’, I feel like that’s already starting on the wrong foot,” he conceded.
“The best hires we’ve had are people that see what we’re doing and say, ‘I want to be a part of that. How can I contribute and bring in good energy?’
“I feel like that’s the beginning of a good fit for our culture.”
Mr Schumann agreed, adding that willingness to learn and collaborate is a critical skill to have in real estate, where relationships move businesses forward and up.
“Leave your personal life at the door, come in and be willing to learn. Bring the energy and be collaborative… Getting other people involved and asking the questions is how you learn. No one has everything right,” he said.
The hiring process
To build their dream team, the business owners make sure to set a standard right at the beginning, from the job posting to the interview.
When posting a job ad, Mr Richards said that the company’s “tone” should be able to set it apart from other postings in order to set the applicant’s expectations.
He said: “You see too many adverts out there… then you read them all and they all read the same. There’s no real tone of voice that comes through.
“You have to think about your wording and the tone of voice and what you’re putting out to the market… I’d like to get my branding up on them as well. So, people will know who’s posting the ad, what type of business it is, [as well as] the positioning of the brand in the market.
“That will help you filter down the applicants that come through.”
When it comes time to conduct the interview, Mr Chan makes it a point to highlight the importance of communication, which ultimately plays a big role in achieving success within the company.
“I’m just really up front and I just tell them, ‘This is how we do things. There’s no egos — we’re here for the customer. We work hard, we support each other and we move on really quickly. We don’t take anything personal and we just communicate a lot’,” according to him.
To save time, Mr Chan often does group interviews, where candidates can get to know the teams that they will be working with.
“We’ll tell them about the history of the business… Tell them about the role, let everyone speak for themselves. Then, my team will tell them what they do. So, it gives them a chance to meet our team up front in the first round and they can see if it’s for them or not and vice versa.”
Ultimately, while recruitment can be a challenge for business owners, transparency goes a long way in ensuring that the right people are onboarded, Mr Schumann said.
“We’re really honest — we’re fun but hard-working — and we want that reflection in our hires,” he highlighted.
Building a connected team
To sustain the dream team, Mr Chan emphasised the importance of building connection.
While he does his best to curate the team, the business owner admitted that it’s an impossible task to build a team with one and the same personality.
In order to ensure smooth internal operations — which will ultimately translate to better service — Mr Chan gets everyone aligned with the business’s goals and messaging.
Mr Chan explained: “[You have to be able] to sit and set teams and set all things that are important [to the business] because it gets them more connected.
“I’ve always found that when I’ve done that successfully, the relationship within the office has always been a much more productive one, much more successful and there’s a greater positive energy that comes out of them.”
If it turns out that one of the hires isn’t the right fit, Mr Schumann advised business owners to “deal with it quickly and nip it in the bud” to avoid affecting the whole team and, consequently, the business.
“You don’t want it to get to the point where it becomes cancerous,” he said, “so, if you feel as though it’s not the right choice — and it’s not to say that they’re not the right choice for everyone down the road, it’s just not right for you — you’ve just got to really hit that on the head.”
Mr Chan agreed, noting that every role has to be filled in correctly in order to ensure continued success; otherwise, he urges hirers to “keep replacing them until it’s a fit”.
Once you do have the right person for the job, it becomes the job of the business “to make them stay”, he highlighted.
“If you’ve got really, really good hires in your team at the moment, they teach the culture to the next person,” Mr Chan said.
“Keeping that tight and making sure every single person that comes on board carries the same level of standards as you do is really important, because then they will teach it onto the next person, even if you’re not there.
“That’s what I think would be a good culture.”